Contrary to the conventional wisdom about media consumption dividing along generational or political lines, a new survey finds that the nature of the news itselfthe topic and speed of the storylargely determines where people go to learn about events and the path they take to get there.
The findings also suggest that some long-held beliefs about people relying on just a few primary sources for news are now obsolete.
In contrast to the idea that one generation tends to rely on print, another on television and still another the web, the majority of Americans across generations now combine a mix of sources and technologies to get their news each week, according to the survey by the Media Insight Project, an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Where people go for news, moreover, depends significantly on the topic of the storywhether it is sports or science, politics or weather, health or artsand on the nature of the story whether it is a fast-moving event, a slower-moving trend, or an issue that the person follows passionately.
The data also challenge another popular idea about the digital age, the notion that with limitless choices people follow only a few subjects in which they are interested and only from sources with which they agreethe idea of the so-called filter bubble.
There are relatively few di?erences by generation, party, or socioeconomic status in the level of interest with which people report following di?erent topics. These are some of the findings of the nationally representative telephone survey of 1,492 adults conducted from January 9 through February 16, 2014.